Leaks - Background
Congress & Leaks in 2006
The nine members comprising the Sunshine in Government Initiative strongly believe recent congressional legislation to amend the Espionage Act is overly broad and would chill the daily communications between government officials and the public. Instead, SGI encourages government officials and Congress to endorse and participate in an ongoing dialogue hosted by the Aspen Institute and involving active journalists, publishers and very senior level government officials.2007-07-12
Kyl Amendment Represents New Official Secrets Act
Feb. 28, 2007 -- Senator Jon Kyl (R-AZ) has floated an amendment to S. 236, a bill dealing with federal data mining efforts, that would in effect create an “Official Secrets Act” criminalizing the publication of classified information. There have been no public hearings or discussions about this proposal.
The media understand that leaks of some government information about the war on terror can cause harm. But existing laws are adequate to protect the information that truly needs protecting. The Kyl amendment is so broad that it would make criminal the unauthorized disclosure of virtually any government information relating to terrorism. The amendment would also fundamentally alter the espionage statutes of the United States - a statutory regime that has served us well for over 80 years. Read the SGI Statement.2007-07-12
Bond Anti-Leaks Bill
On August 2, 2006, Sen. Christopher Bond (R-MO) introduced legislation (S. 3774) that would criminalize any unauthorized disclosure of classified information and information that could be classified. On September 8, the bill attracted additional co-sponsors.
Hoekstra concerned about leaks but "not yet" ready to write new law
A hearing on unauthorized disclosures of national security matters in the press highlighted where the debate over "leaks" may be heading in the next several months: Most members of the House Intelligence Committee, which held the May 26 hearing, do not support writing new laws criminalizing journalists for unauthorized disclosures of classified information. At the same time, lawmakers remain concerned that leaks have caused significant damage to national security.
for more, see this hearing summary.2006-05-31
Statements submitted for the record